I'm going to Vietnam and probably Cambodia for a month in January next year. At the moment I'm trying to decide between going on my own/with one of my friends or going with a tour group such as Intrepid. From everything I've read it seems like Vietnam is pretty traveller-friendly, but I'm worried that if my friend can't come then I may get lonely on my own? I have a pretty good idea of where I want to go, but given that it's the first time I will have been away on my own it may give me some peace of mind to travel with a group?
Does anyone have any experience travelling with Intrepid Travel? Or Gecko? I haven't heard as much about Gecko but some of their itinearies seem pretty good.
All advice greatly appreciated!
I'm in the same boat. I DIY Vietnam last March and it was really great, but it did indeed get a tad lonely at times. I'm planning on N. Viet + N. Thai and Laos for next winter too, and I have the Intrepid book right here, and am wondering what to do. I'm really tempted by "Tap into Laos" because it gives me time to see N. Viet on my own, hook up with the tour in Hanoi to see Laos and on to Chiang Mai, where I can again be on my own to see N. Thai and on to Bangkok and home. I'll have to get the calculator out and see how much $, but I think I can swing it (the tour is $885./14 days).
I did communicate with a photographer friend who had taken an Intrepid tour in Viet last year and she said it was excellent. Here's her blog references about Viet, and she does answer emails - she did mine:
I've done an Intrepid Tour in Vietnam before for 2 weeks, it was absolutely fantastic so much included and a great guide.
Aright mate, last year was my 1st time travelling alone and I did 3weeks in Vietnam...loved it and loved the freedom of doing what I wanted, when I wanted...if I can do it alone, anyone can believe me!!!!
I met loads of ppl along the way on tours, trips and on nights out...but I can see how some ppl might get lonely, depends on the person I suppose. I personally cudnt handle being placed into a group situation with a lot of other ppl I dont really know...I'm not sure how much freedom ur given with Intrepid but I'd be afraid I'd get sick of that kind of goup situation. You prob know what suits u best urself anyway!!!!
I'm thinking more and more just like Buffalo (besides it's considerably cheaper, and Vietnam is such a bargain to begin with!) As Buffalo said, it really depends on the individual. It is true that one meets so many other travelers enroute, and I'd imagine it gets easier the younger one is. Don't forget, that you could also pick up local tours if you're interested in specific locales. I do know that a person develops a certain confidence, traveling solo, that is totally missing with the group scene. Happy trip!
I think I will probaby end up going on my own, rather than with a group. From everything I've read and heard it just seems too easy (and cheaper!) not too! When I've been doing some research I've already found a couple of places that I would like to go to, that most of the tour groups don't seem to stop at. I'm a pretty independent person and I think that being with a group for the whole time may be a little frustrating at times. If I'm on my own and find a place I really like I can stay a bit longer (and vice versa, if I dislike a place I can leave earlier), rather than having to stick to strict itineraries, so that is definitely a positive.
Thanks for all the replies, it's very much appreciated!